Getting into Lawns
And other weird shit
There’s a freak out there for everything. It’s one of the great novelties of time spent trawling the Internet, finding some obscure idea or niche hobby – impossibly weird and wonderful and yet it’s someone’s whole life. It’s about as close as I can get to comprehending there are 8 billion of you freaks out there with lives as vast and engrossing as my own is to me.
When we first moved into the home we’re living in now, I noticed one of our neighbours over the fence, on his front lawn, down on his knees with a pair of scissors in hand giving the grass a little trim. We’d come from an apartment in the city so this was quite a picture. I thought to myself, people have got a lot of time on their hands out here. I’ve since come to know Michael well and he doesn’t have much time on his hands but he’s thorough and pretty serious about his lawns. It’s handy. We have a lawn and he lets me borrow his mower. He has even mowed my lawn on occasion, just to be neighbourly.
I’m not a lawn guy, but I’ve watched a few Youtube videos to get my head around weeding and fertilizing, fixing dead patches and watering. Youtube is great because you get to travel down the rabbit hole, to see and hear just one of 8 billion freaks in their element. I like these strange, autobiographical documentaries – self-produced for the love of lawns and a chance to be noticed.
I’m not a lawn guy but Michael and Libby bought me a t-shirt the other day which reads: Sexy and I mow it. It has a picture of a lawnmower on it and people I walk past seem to enjoy it. Michael has a good collection of t-shirts and you can see how it happens, how we compound over time, becoming more interested in the things we are interested in, becoming more like the people we are around, radicalizing slowly until one day, you’re on your hands and knees on your front lawn with a pair of scissors, in a T-shirt that reads: Same is Lame, Think Other – one of the dozens that make up your collection of well-worn jokes and catchy insights.
It has just started to rain after too many days of sweltering summer heat and I’m not a lawn guy but this rain will do my lawn some good, and me, I’m sick of watering. I water it, it dries out again. I mow it, it grows back in a week. It’s perfectly Sisyphean but also satisfying – almost meditative if not for the flies and the heat and the 2-stroke engine of the lawnmower whirring away. It’s in that class of maintenance activities like brushing my teeth or stretching – where the work is never done and the goal is for everything to stay the same. These are good for keeping my feet on the ground.